Keep Humanity Humane
Has Science Gone Too Far?
Should the Definition of Humanity Change?
Our Future in AI
Lim, Alexa. "The Future of Artificial Intelligence - Science Friday." Science Friday. Science Friday, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
Cloning in Action
"Cloning Is Real.. Celebrity Tells All." Secrets of the Fed RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
What about Stem Cells?
"Adult Tissue Stem Cell Production." Asymmetrix. Asymmetrix, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016
Our Future in AI
Cloning in Action
Join The Movement
How You Can Help
Do Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep
Artificial intelligence is often considered the epitome of science fiction. A computer that can think for itself seems like a thing of wonder that has no place in our mundane world. However, the phenomenon of AI has begun to take over our fragile world. Machines have become almost human and have, in some cases, begun to think by human standards. Modern scientists are struggling with a whole new set of moral dilemmas. Do autonomous programs deserve human rights? How do we prepare for the damage they may cause? Is society ready for this advancement in science? Artificial intelligence is a dangerous path. The Science behind it is an innovative and progressive display of why science should have limits in today’s society.
What is it that makes us human? This is the question scientists struggle with when it comes to their new creations. They are building what might be considered a human mind, but leaving out human emotion. To do so, would result in “an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on”(Shelly, 188). Our humanity relies on our ability to feel--pain and pleasure, fear of failure and love of life. Having the intelligence of a human being does not equal humanity itself. Does that then mean that we should program these computers with the ability to feel emotional pain--to help them develop the way we do? Maybe, without that perspective, “a species of self-replicating (ro)bots will indeed threaten to overwhelm humanity”(Wallach). It’s a dangerous possibility for sure.
Many say that Artificial intelligence is something that will not threaten our current generation. There is no way that something that advanced can exist in our mundane world. But science is taking leaps and bounds at the same time as our children are reminded that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. The definition of intelligence is changing, and with that change comes a new set of challenges and dangers. Some argue that “there is the concern that such technology can be used for cybercrime”(McCoy). Recently an artifical personality performed a landmark act. It passed the “Turing Test”--something created at the very beginning of artificial intelligence to test if a program had truly met it's purpose to become more human-like. At least thirty per cent of people who reviewed the program in a text conversation believed it to be human. This sort of possibility poses a whole new threat. Cybercrime is an ever-growing problem in today’s society. If people are threatened by a computer itself, there is next to no way to something orthopedic it. How does one incarcerate a virtual entity?
A program that can commit a crime and harm a human being in any way--knowingly and without the help of a human--should be seen as a legitimate threat and treated like a criminal. If an artificial entity commits a crime, who is held responsible? Is it the creator, or the program itself? When a human commits a crime, the mother is not put into prison for having the child in the first place. So, it stands to reason that when a computerized entity commits a crime, that entity is responsible. That then means that a program “with human intelligence would be entitled to the same rights as humans”(Opposing Viewpoints).
Modern society is not prepared for these questions, and modern science should respect that. Even if this innovation is an inevitability, it can be delayed at the least. If we are to learn anything from fiction, it is this--there is danger around every corner. Again and again, fiction has explained this to us so we would not have to experience it for ourselves. Artificial Intelligence is not something the human race should explore any time soon. This is where science has met it's current limit.
Wallach, Wendell, and Colin Allen. "Autonomous Robotic Technology Could Pose a Serious Threat to Humanity." Robotic Technology. Ed. Louise Gerdes. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Dangers, Rights, and Responsibilities." Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong,. Vol. 189. Oxford University
McCoy, Terrence. "A computer passes 'Turing Test' in landmark trial." Washington Post 9 June 2014.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
"Artificial Intelligence." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Diana Gibson. Frankenstein. Madrid, España: Edimat Libros, 2000. Print.
Have We Gone Too Far?
As we know it today compared to centuries ago, earth has changed both socially and intellectually. We have cars compared to buggies, free speech compared to none at all. Every day earth as we know it continues to progress. New innovations arise from decade to decade, but the one the one side that some are meant to progress humankind, other things have created it’s downfall, bombs, war, genocide. This brings the following question, should morality hold limits over scientific progression? What are the limits to which we should stop? Artificial Intelligence falls into this category of ethics, and I say it hasn’t broken any moral law. Programs like these wouldn’t provide any harm to the community as a whole, and are actually beneficial instead.
Artificial Intelligence by definition is defined as, “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.” Which refers to the idea of building a computer system based on mathematical algorithms that can adapt to its environment and create a free response. In all, it has absolutely no affect on the external environment at all, and will not pose as a threat. It has it’s own thought process, and means to act as a human, but inputting actual emotion as an algorithm into a wouldn’t necessarily be possible. It’s given a set of traits that determine how to reply to things based on how it grows, and according to the presets given, whether or not the AI would have character. An AI is only as
smart as you make it, and could not be malicious in any sense of the way, considering it’s a compiled bunch of numbers, any bad purpose would make the AI a virus.
Additionally, what makes an AI actual artificial intelligence is a turing test. Created by Alan Turing, which quotes, that he “believes” that by the end of the century, technology will be altered so that “one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.” Coming off of this, the test allows the program to interact with an unaware user. This user would talk and interact with the program through a chat box, if they feel as though they’re talking to an actual person, and believe this. The artificial intelligence program has passed the test, and is deemed successful. This proves the fact that AIs don’t need to have actual cognition, or awareness of its own self. Even if it did, that does not mean that it could pose any threat either. They adapt to human settings, not virus-like or malicious settings. If the program is aware of itself, it assumes it's a person and a human, and would attempt to act like one according to Dechter, R. Doherty of “Artificial Intelligence.” Which in all proves the fact your average artificial intelligence program would be more into chess or mathematics than mass murder.
Though as we progress as a single race, and constantly adapt to technology’s advances. The singular question comes to mind, have we gone too far? Will artificial intelligence become a threat to society some day? Victor Frankenstein,the main character in the book, Frankenstein, noted that only “blinding” humankind, would end in a continuous “thirst for knowledge”(shelly, 32). Saying that if we do put limits, society will only work harder. Artificial Intelligence only now stands as no threat, considering it’s technological morphology. However it poses the question, based on the turing test, has this stepped over a metaphysical line of morality.
Overall, artificial intelligence remains both a theory and a mystery, but the basics are fairly basic. When asking the question if it’s to far gone, and immoral? The answer is no, as the program is both a compiled group algorithms, and a simple conversationalist. The fact that it holds absolutely no potential for violence or malign action. The fact that this stands as a fairly decent theory and practice, innovators have not stepped over the line. Artificial intelligence poses as no threat now, but will they, in the future.
"Artificial Intelligence." Elsevier. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
"Artificial Intelligence | The Turing Test." Artificial Intelligence | The Turing Test.
Toronto University, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.Turing, Alan. "Alan Turing: The Enigma." (Andrew Hodges). N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
Cloning: Is It Worth It?
Five hundred years ago, most of the world would have believed that cloning was impossible. However, in the 1950’s, scientists found that if they took the nucleus from the cell of an existing organism and inserted it into an egg that has been stripped of its original nucleus, a clone can indeed be created. What are the benefits? Scientists can clone healthy organs to be transplanted into a person in need of one. Healthy, disease-free cattle can be cloned to produce excellent cuts of meat. However, one thing should be clear: it is not ethically right to clone a human being because of the lives that could be manipulated or destroyed for the sake of scientific progress.
In 1997, Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut announced the birth of “Dolly,” the clone of an adult sheep. To create this clone, scientists placed nuclei in 277 eggs and “only 29 of those eggs developed into embryos that could be implanted” (“Cloning”). Only one of these 29 resulted in a live birth. Think about what this would mean for human cloning; cloning more often than not yields failure. Human cloning would result in “abortions, miscarriages, or births of malformed or diseased individuals” (“Cloning”). How many lives would be lost in the name of science? In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the leading authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints declare that “the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, par. 4). Basically, a scientist should not be tampering with souls and bodies that come into the world, especially if many of them die in the process. In Frankenstein, Victor’s poor decision to create life produced a creature “alone and miserable” (Shelley 144). Those who create life have a special responsibility to teach, love, and care for their children. Otherwise, the uneducated decisions a being makes could affect the lives of those around them. Frankenstein’s monster murdered 4 people out of anger at Victor for not being taught, loved, and cared for. Children are “entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony,” and to be raised by “a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity” (The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, par. 7). If a scientist creates a human clone to further scientific progress, he/she is cheating a child--or perhaps 277 children--of what they deserve.
Obviously, most of these arguments are based on the belief that there is a God who creates life and cares about his children. An opposing opinion would argue that the 277 embryos that could not be transplanted do not have souls. When does life begin? This, of course, is open to interpretation, but according to my personal beliefs, life begins at conception. Another might argue that a scientist or the surrogate mother will take care of the human clone he/she creates. This may be the case, however Victor Frankenstein “selected his [creation’s] features as beautiful,” and was willing to welcome “the accomplishment of his toils” before he decided to completely abandon it (Shelley 55). Even if a scientist did raise a clone to the best of his ability, it must be admitted that the child would not have an ordinary life. Children deserve to have a healthy, unmodified body and to be raised by both a mother and a father, if at all possible. In his study entitled, “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” Bradford Wilcox reveals that children raised in intact married families “are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behavior, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, etc.” (Wilcox 52). The list goes on and on of the benefits of being born to a mother and father, and the fact is that being raised by a scientist isn’t quite the same.
Cloning human beings is disgusting in every aspect of the idea. So many lives could be lost or manipulated by the pursuit of this study, and therefore it should be stopped. Science certainly has moral limits and scientists cannot be too careful when dealing with bringing life into the world. Just as Frankenstein was punished--by his own monster--for neglecting responsibility, those who discharge the obligations of raising and caring for a child “will be held accountable before God” (The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, par. 6). Do we really need human clones in the world? Are the abortions of hundreds of embryos worth the knowledge gained from them? Or what’s more: if you were born exactly the same as another, for the sake of science, having to be raised by a single parent, how would you feel about it?
"Cloning." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.
The Quorum Of the Twelve Apostles. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." General
Relief Society Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah. 23 Sept. 1995. Web. 3 Mar. 2016. <https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&_r=1>.
Wilcox, William Bradford. Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences:
A Report from Family Scholars. 3rd ed. New York: Institute for American Values, 2011. N. pag. Print.
Progression vs. Morals
Controversy n. extreme contrast of opinions on a socially conflicting topic. The research revolving around stem cells has been going on for years and they have discovered many very efficient uses for them. However, there are numerous moral reasons against the idea, due to the process of harvesting the stem cells. Many believe it is extremely unethical to kill an embryo in order to extract stem cells.
“Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science” (36). The possibilities of these unspecialized cells are endless. From curing diseases to illness treatments, stem cells have the potential to save lives and ease pain. Despite the ethics surrounding it, many scientists have pushed forward with unfailing persistence to discover and invent ways to help people. The current studies show options to use the cells to replace neurons damaged by spinal cord injuries, repair stroke injuries, cure Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and other neurological problems. Studies are also coming up with ways to use stem cells to produce insulin that could treat people with diabetes and heart cells that could repair damaged tissue after a heart attack; or potentially replace virtually any tissue or organ that is injured or diseased. This research may also lead to ways to treat or prevent cancer or birth defects. Scientists have practically promised the mastery of how to use them to our advantage and control them is almost complete. Whether or not society is sure about it, the research carries on faster than ever before. However the questions must be asked, is this going too far? Where is this headed? Is this morally correct?
If one does not believe life has begun in the womb when the egg and sperm meet, then killing it must be easy -Anonymous. The killing of the first stages of life is viewed to numerous individuals of as unethical and morally incorrect. Destroying life for the sake of research, many would argue is against the basic morals of human life. Another dilemma that is evident is, is the blastocyst carrying the stem cells a person or is it property? “ It is unclear because the law does not define the term human being”(Wexler).The argument starts with differing opinions. Many religious standpoints believe life begins at conception. Others believe that the stem cell researchers will not be satisfied and only keep killing innocent only beginning lives. There is also much political unrest on the topic and the government's stance on it is unsettled. There are many justifications on the topic, but not enough plausible ethical reasoning behind it, some believe. A wide majority of Americans also do not approve of having to pay for the research let alone take any part in it. Its an expensive morally problematic science experiment progressing without any real limits.
This scientific breakthrough is both promising and problem-causing. I personally have conflicts about it still. However, I have at last come to a conclusion that if a life must be aboarded, then first the stem cells should be harvested for research and it is not morally right to take a life for research. The scientific advancements are indeed important, but with limits. I think science has the power to go too far so we must have limits, but otherwise we must let science grow and flourish for our benefits.
"Stem Cells." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Mar. 2016
We’ve all seen it a million times in works of fiction--science changing the landscape of humanity. Clones in Star Wars, the AI in I, Robot, and stem cell specialization in Gattaca. The examples are endless.
This is more of a possibility than most anticipate, despite the warnings of fiction. In the real world, science should not manipulate what it means to be human.
So what does it mean to be human?
By definition, a human is a human being, especially a person as distinguished from an animal or (in science fiction) an alien., which brings up the same question. Being human comes as a perspective, an opinion. And as artificial intelligence, or “metal” minds, are brought into this age. Should we now tamper with the idea? As of current they pose no threat, made up of mathematical algorithms with one main purpose, to adapt to it’s surroundings, obtain experience, and use it to communicate with a human. However as this tends to go, creating a “humane” artificial intelligence, opens a new can. If conscious of their existence, can they use it to their advantage, and integrate themselves with our kind. Therefore changing the definition, of what it means to be human.
If a scientist clones a human, then that clone is living, right? Yes, the clone is a living, breathing being with a soul, but since this human is exactly like another human, is it ethically right to clone humans?
In 1997, scientists found a way to clone a sheep. This sheep, named “Dolly,” was the only “one of 277 embryos” to be born. If we were to clone a human, there would be many miscarriages, stillborns, and deformed births in order to perfect the act of cloning. Is it humane to kill 277 babies for science? If so, would it then mean that it is morally acceptable to kill a human embryo? The study of stem cells holds many possible medical promises, but involves killing a human life. Or is that alright? “If one does not believe life has begun in the womb when the egg and sperm meet, then killing it must be easy.”
Though cloning and stem cells are used in many sci-fi movies, it should not be ethically right in the real world to study either. Both would be changing what it means to be human.
So, have we gone too far?
Have we breached the limit set by morals through simply having the technology to make artificial intelligences, being able to clone, and willing to take young life to extract stem cells from embryos? Due to our research over these topics we have come to the conclusion that science should most definitely have more defined limitations. Whether or not research has yet proven to be too harmful, it surely has the power to become too much.
Humanity is a fragile thing. To mess with it is to change the landscape of how we think, how we act, and how we see ourselves. This world is full of danger. It is not our place to add more, and it is not our place to play god.